Canada home prices fall in March, sales up: CREA

Mon Apr 16, 2012 11:27am EDT
 
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By Jon Cook

TORONTO (Reuters) - Canadian home prices fell in March from year-ago levels even as existing home sales activity picked up, with a cooling of the once-hot Vancouver market offsetting big price gains in Toronto and steady increases elsewhere.

A report on Monday from the Canadian Real Estate Association showed the average residential home price in March was C$369,677 ($370,600), down 0.5 percent from the same period last year. The figures are not seasonally adjusted.

But the broad number masked big differences between cities and regions.

The average selling price in Vancouver, Canada's most expensive major market, fell 3.1 percent from a year earlier to C$761,742. Prices in the nearby Fraser Valley area tumbled nearly 10 percent.

But prices in Toronto, which has seen a boom in condominium construction, jumped 10.5 percent in March from a year earlier.

"The slight decline in the national average price points to a tug of war between Toronto and Vancouver," Gregory Klump, the industry group's chief economist, said in a statement.

Klump added that national prices in 2011 had been pushed higher by "record level high-end home sales in some of Vancouver's priciest neighborhoods."

The report also showed existing home sales climbed 2.5 percent in March from February on a seasonally adjusted basis. But the increase, unadjusted, was up just 1.6 percent from year-earlier levels. This represented the lowest yearly growth rate since April 2011.   Continued...